About Me — Rebecca Ruth Gould

“Pessimism of the Will & Optimism of the Intellect” (Antonio Gramsci)

Hello! Welcome to this short summary of myself. I define myself as a writer, reader, translator, teacher, lover of staying up late at night, of wandering through cities and watching the stars, coffee, documentary films, medieval ruins, and poetry in languages other than my own. My reading ranges across novels (Fyodor Dostoevsky and Virginia Woolf are among my favorites), philosophy (I adore Giambattista Vico and Walter Benjamin), and poetry (I love Mahmoud Darwish and Zbigniew Herbert, among others).

Instead of trying to summarize my life, I will show some images of myself in the various places I have lived and written about. Each of these places — and the people depicted in them — has in various ways left a trace on my soul.

What I Write

I began writing in earnest on Medium only in December 2020, and am excited about reaching a wider audience through this medium, of discovering new themes, and making new friends in the process. Here are the topics and genres I have written in so far:

1. History (mostly of the Caucasus)

My first book, Writers and Rebels: The Literature of Insurgency in the Caucasus (2016), focused on anticolonial insurgency in the Caucasus during the 19th and 20th centuries. Prior to writing that, I lived in Tbilisi, Georgia for two years, where I learned Georgian and conducted fieldwork across the Caucasus. I write a lot about Iran and wider Middle East. Many of my articles here so far focus on the Caucasus:

I have also written on other areas of politics and history, including Palestine, Thoreau, watching Chekhov in Tehran, and the legacy of slavery in the city where I live, Bristol (UK):

I am finishing up a number of different book projects (on prison poetry, the Caucasus, and the theory of racism), but one that I am starting is called Sex and the State: Beyond Marriage and Monogamy. It is among other things a cultural history of marriage and a critique of this social institution from a feminist perspective. You can read an initial excerpt from that project here:

2. Short Stories

I am currently gathering my short stories into a collection entitled Strangers in Love, to be published by Tailwinds Press in New York. The collection has already been translated into Arabic (yes, before its publication in English!), and will be published by an Iraqi publisher in 2021. The collection uses an epigraph from Giorgio Agamben which I think speaks for many of these stories:

To live in intimacy with a stranger, not in order to draw them closer or to make them known, but rather to keep them strange, remote: unapparent — so unapparent that their name contains them entirely.

— Giorgio Agamben, “The Idea of Love”

3. Poetry

My first poetry collection, Cityscapes, appeared in 2019. I have a chapbook entitled Beautiful English coming out later this year (2021) with Dreich Press (it was runner-up in the Dreich poetry chapbook contest in 2020). Here are two poems from my first collection, plus an overview of the collection:

4. Translations

From time to time I post my translations of other poets and writers. It would be nice if the Medium community of translators were to grow! Perhaps someone should start a publication….

So far, I have published five book length translations:

Covers of my 5 book length translations

5. Autobiography

I have also written extended reflections of my life as a permanent migrant and my relationship to books:

Get in Touch

My website offers an overview of all aspects of my work and reading life. The section I love most is the Reading Log, where I record the books I am reading and which I recommend to others. I update the log every month. I have an author profile on Goodreads, and would be pleased to share ebooks of any of my books and translations with anyone interested in reviewing them.

I am on Twitter, as well as Instagram and LinkedIn. I upload videos related to my interests (including videos of my readings and lectures) on YouTube and SoundCloud. For the academically inclined, you can access nearly all of my publications for free at Academia.edu, ResearchGate, HCommons, and Google Scholar. I was interviewed by Kamna Kirti, editor of the wonderful Medium publication The Collector, for her podcast. However, I am coming to believe that Medium.com is the best platform of all for sharing one’s work.

I love teaching creative writing and poetry translation and enjoy mentoring writers on their journey. If you have writing that would benefit from a second eye, or would like to discuss your work and career, you can book a consultation with me here:

Last but not least you can sign up for my (infrequent) newsletter, The Translator Acivist, here:

It highlights new opportunities in the areas that I work on, along with new work by others, and open access links to my own work.

Thanks for taking the time to read all about me!

I will leave you with these thoughts from James Baldwin (one of my favorite writers) on love, from my YouTube channel:

Rebecca Ruth Gould

3 January 2021

Writing on poetry, politics, authors’ rights, the Caucasus, Iran, Palestine. Professor. Website: rrgould.hcommons.org. More info: https://linktr.ee/rrgould

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